Bullpen Report: April 27, 2015

• Rough break for Adam Ottavino owners as he hits the DL with inflammation in his right triceps. Ottavino’s velocity had a sudden drop in his last two outings, and now we know why. Walt Weiss said “If we have the lead in the ninth tonight, it’ll be Axford,” so I would say he is the guy to own right now in Colorado. Rafael Betancourt will certainly be in the mix, but provided Axford successfully closes his next opportunity, it would be hard seeing Weiss look to Betancourt instead. Ottavino won’t necessarily be out for long but Verlander has been dealing with a similar issue since the start of the season. We’ll be sure to keep you posted as to Ottavino’s return.

Steve Cishek was unable to hold the one run lead for the Marlins, blowing the save against the Mets on a three-run homer by Daniel Murphy. Cishek’s defense didn’t do him any favors after Marcell Ozuna allowed Juan Larages to get to second base on a misplay in the first at bat of the inning. Still, it was a poor performance for Cishek who saw his ERA balloon to 11.37 on the year. Cishek won’t maintain a paltry 23.3% LOB% all season long, but he’ll have to start getting shutdown innings to prevent A.J. Ramos and Mike Dunn from breathing down his neck.

Miguel Castro gave up hits and runs for the fourth time in his last five appearances. Tonight he allowed three hits and a run to the Red Sox for his second loss of the year. Roberto Osuna blew the lead in the eighth inning and Brett Cecil has struggled mightily this year, so there aren’t necessarily great options behind him as a replacement. However, Castro is also a 20 year old rookie struggling lately with major league hitters. His raw stuff is immense and the there have been no talk out of Toronto aboutof Castro being removed from the closer’s chair at the moment, but Castro will have to turn this around if he wants to stay in Toronto, not to mention the ninth inning.

• Miguel Castro’s loss netted Koji Uehara the win tonight. Uehara has been a little more brittle and a little more hittable this year but he was effective pitching a perfect ninth with two strikeouts. Uehara’s velocity dipped a bit earlier this year but he was back at 87-88 mph against the Blue Jays, which is more in line with his recent years. Junichi Tazawa is ownable in all leagues, for ratio help alone, but his chances at saves are looking slimmer so long as Uehara throws like this.

Andrew Miller converted his eighth save in eight tries tonight continuing his awesome start for the Yankees. I still don’t think Girardi has officially named a closer, but there is also no need when it’s this obvious. In 9.1 scoreless innings pitched, Miller now has 17 strikeouts against four walks, good for a 1.34 FIP/2.06 xFIP. Meanwhile Betances, who was expected to close at the start of the season threw another scoreless inning himself lowering his 0.00 ERA to 0.00. Betances has 17 strikeouts in 11 innings pitched with a 1.91 FIP/2.50 xFIP of his own. QuanGorMo was effective several years ago on the Yankees but the BetanMiller duo has that beat and is possibly the best set up and closer option in all of baseball, real or fantasy.

• Quick Hits and Tidbits: Jeurys Familia nailed the save for the Mets and is a perfect 9-9 in save opportunities since replacing Mejia as closer. Aroldis Chapman allowed several inherited runners to score but got two outs to end the game the only way he knows how, via the strikeout. Kelvin Herrera and Wade Davis closed out the final two frames for the Royals tonight. There was no save situation involved but the Royals, particularly when Greg Holland returns, challenge the Yankees for the best relief combo in baseball. Zach McAllister threw 1.1 scoreless innings tonight, hitting 96.5 mph in the process. His stay in the bullpen could be a lengthier one and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him throw multiple solid innings out of the pen for the Indians and even inch his way up the pecking order in Cleveland.

Closer Grid:

Closer First Second DL/Minors
Arizona Addison Reed Evan Marshall Brad Ziegler
Atlanta Jason Grilli Jim Johnson Luis Avilan
Baltimore Zach Britton Darren O’Day Tommy Hunter
Boston Koji Uehara Junichi Tazawa Edward Mujica
CHI (NL) Hector Rondon Pedro Strop Jason Motte
CHI (AL) David Robertson Jacob Petricka Zach Duke
Cincy Aroldis Chapman Jumbo Diaz Tony Cingrani Sean Marshall
Cleveland Cody Allen Bryan Shaw Scott Atchison
Colorado John Axford Rafael Betancourt Christian Bergman Adam Ottavino
Detroit Joakim Soria Al Alburquerque Joba Chamberlain Joe Nathan
Houston Luke Gregerson Chad Qualls Pat Neshek
KC Wade Davis Kelvin Herrera Ryan Madson Greg Holland
LAA Huston Street Joe Smith Vinnie Pestano
LAD Joel Peralta Chris Hatcher Pedro Baez Kenley Jansen
Miami Steve Cishek A.J. Ramos Mike Dunn
Milwaukee Francisco Rodriguez Jonathan Broxton Will Smith
Minnesota Glen Perkins Caleb Thielbar Casey Fien
NY (NL) Jeurys Familia Carlos Torres Buddy Carlyle Jenrry Mejia
NY (AL) Andrew Miller Dellin Betances David Carpenter
Oakland Tyler Clippard Eric O’Flaherty Dan Otero Sean Doolittle
Philly Jonathan Papelbon Ken Giles Luis Garcia
Pittsburgh Mark Melancon Tony Watson Jared Hughes
St. Louis Trevor Rosenthal Jordan Walden Seth Maness
SD Craig Kimbrel Joaquin Benoit Dale Thayer Kevin Quackenbush
SF Santiago Casilla Sergio Romo Jeremy Affeldt
Seattle Fernando Rodney Danny Farquhar Yoervis Medina
TB Brad Boxberger Kevin Jepsen Ernesto Frieri Jake McGee
Texas Neftali Feliz Shawn Tolleson Keone Kela Tanner Scheppers
Toronto Miguel Castro Brett Cecil Roberto Osuna Steve Delabar
Wash. Drew Storen Aaron Barrett Blake Treinen Casey Janssen

[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]

When he's not focusing on every team's bullpen situation, Ben can be found blogging at Ben's Baseball Bias and on Twitter @BensBias

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Blue Jays manager John Gibbons revealed after Monday’s loss to the Red Sox that he would have used Brett Cecil as his closer had an opportunity arisen.
Miguel Castro has struggled lately, as he’s been scored upon in four out of his last five appearances and blown two save chances over that stretch. The 20-year-old took the loss on Monday, retiring just one of the four batters he faced. Cecil has been worse this season with a 7.20 ERA, but it appears that, at the very least, the two might be in a committee at closer at this point. “Ideally, we’ll get some defined roles,” Gibbons said. “Right now it’s really just kind of a crap shoot but we need to settle in and run with it and live with the results, is really the way we need to start approaching it.” Needless to say, it’s a less than ideal situation for fantasy owners.


I thought Gibbons said that final sentence for a minute, then I did a double take.


he recently said it is a closer by committee.